Federal Government sours on milk price index platform

Zach RelphCountryman
VideoDairy farmers are calling Coles "heartless" after they refuse to follow rival Woolworths who dumped the $1-a-litre milk.

The Federal Government’s $2 million milk price index could face the chop less than nine months after it was unveiled, as dairy farmers shy away from using the online platform.

Agriculture Minister David Littleproud confirmed this morning the index — designed to provide milk farmers with information to use in supply negotiations with processors — was under review.

The farmgate milk price source was launched by Mr Littleproud in July, more than two years after it was flagged as part of the former Turnbull government’s $579 million dairy support package

Mr Littleproud said the price index would “face a thorough examination” on how well it met the needs of farmers and processors.

“I’m not convinced the index is working as well as it can for farmers so I want to know if that’s the case and what can be done to make it better,” he said.

“The milk price index was designed to help farmers easily access information which can help them make decisions.

“We’ll go over the index’s first six months to figure out how well it delivers price transparency and helps dairy farmers understand market signals and run their businesses.”

The review will continue until April, with a report due after Easter.

The index relies on farmers providing price data via the online platform to give a “true picture of actual prices received” in each of Australia’s eight dairy regions.

However, as of December the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources had only received 40 data submissions and less than 10,000 page views.

At the time, a DAWR spokesman told the Countryman the website’s submission rate was not enough for the department to publish a farmgate figures for any region.

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